PLATTEVILLE, Colo. — Nearly a month ago, a tornado touched down on Miller Farms, uprooting crops and tossing trailers used to store and harvest grains and vegetables. The family has managed to keep their business running, but they need help replacing the farming equipment damaged by Mother Nature.
On June 7, Melissa Miller remembers praying to keep the tornado away from their home as she recorded video of it tearing across the field. She recalls her family initially being confused and then scared as the reality set in.
“None of us have ever seen a tornado here,” Miller said.
Miller Farms has been in the family for three generations. The land was acquired in 1949 and cultivated by the Millers. It’s since become a household name in the farming community. Their vegetables can be found across the state at countless farmers' markets.
“We grow basically any sort of vegetable that can grow in Colorado," Miller said.
Everything from sweet corn to squash, beets and so much more. A sign on the side of the road reads “pay what you want” next to baskets of vegetables. Miller said it’s been a family tradition that has been kept alive since the beginning.
“We grow extra produce to feed people who are struggling or to go to food banks,” Miller said.
Tajahi Cooke is the co-owner of Ms. Betty’s Cooking and in his free time, he helps feed people in need of a hot meal. He says vegetable donations from Miller Farms have helped feed 10,000 people in two years.
“They have given back so much,” Cooke said.
But now the farm that’s put food on the tables for decades needs help recovering from the damage caused by the tornado.
Miller said the tornado tore out crops, damaged the combine harvester, and picked up two trailers and dumped them on their neighbor’s property. One of the trailers damaged is used to refrigerate crops to keep them from going bad and the other one is used to harvest. Miller believes if they can find parts to repair the combine and purchase used trailers to replace the damaged ones, they would need upwards of $50,000 to get back to how things were before the tornado touched down.
“We have never asked anybody for anything and it’s even weird for us to ask to donate but so many people want to,” Miller said.
Family and friends have rallied together to help keep their locally run farm alive. Cooke and another local chef are hosting a BBQ on July 4th at Miller Farms starting at 4 p.m. to help raise $10,000 to replace the damaged farming equipment. Tickets for the B.B.Q. are $10 at the door and food can be purchased separately.
For those who cannot attend the B.B.Q, Denver7 Gives is also raising funds to cover the major unexpected expense the Miller family is now facing. Just click on "Help the Miller Farm" in the drop down menu here. You can also choose to donate by clicking in the link below.
Click here to go directly to the Denver7 Gives donation form then choose a campaign
“We love farming and we don’t want to do anything else so we want that to continue for years,” Miller said.
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